The Following”: The Complete First Season had plenty of potential with fine performances, a decent enough story but it’s squandered with inept characters and frustrating subplots that are more filler and don’t go anywhere. Still, it’s not a complete waste of time and with only 15 episodes, is at least worth the time commitment.
“The Following”: The Complete First Season
Genre(s): Crime, Suspense, Drama
Warner Home Video | NR – 654 min. – $49.99 | January 7, 2014
When notorious serial killer Joe Carroll (JAMES PUREFOY) escapes from Death Row and embarks on a new killing spree, the FBI recruits former agent Ryan Hardy (KEVIN BACON), the scarred veteran who captured Carroll nine years earlier. Working closely with FBI Specialist Debra Parker (ANNIE PARISSE) and sharp upstart Mike Weston (SHAWN ASHMORE), Hardy quickly discovers that Carroll has masterminded a network of devoted followers who might appear at any place or time to carry out their leader’s diabolical mission. As Carroll’s web tightens around his ex-wife (CONNIE NIELSEN), his son and Hardy himself, Hardy struggles to protect the innocent, thwart his nemesis and bring down the twisted cult of serial killers.
QUICK HIT REVIEW — 3.0/5
After watching the pilot episode for Fox’s latest serialized series, “The Following”, I was quite excited to see where the story would go and in particular, what kind of cat-and-mouse game we would get between Kevin Bacon’s burned-out former FBI Agent Ryan Harding and James Purefoy’s devilishly hypnotic Poe-obsessed serial killer Joe Carroll. Unfortunately while it had a strong start, over the course of the 15-episode first season, it got bogged down by inane subplots and side characters, especially on the authorities side, who are utterly inept which is only amplified due to the fact the followers’ incompetence was astonishing.
On the positive front, both Kevin Bacon and James Purefoy give incredible performances and work so well off one another in a season of cat-and-mouse, often with Bacon himself being the mouse. The supporting cast, starting with a guest appearance by Maggie Grace, was well cast and work well opposite either Bacon or Purefoy depending on which side of the law. Also to the script’s credit, the guessing of who’s on which side, a la “24”, is well done even if the characters aren’t, as mentioned above, the most cleverly written.
2. Chapter Two
3. The Poet’s Fire
4. Mad Love
5. The Siege
6. The Fall
7. Let Me Go
8. Welcome Home
9. Love Hurts
11. Whips and Regret
12. The Curse
14. The End is Near
15. The Final Chapter
SPECIAL FEATURES – 4.0/5
The 7-discs (3 Blu-rays, 4 DVDs) come housed in a thick HD Keep Case which comes with a side-sliding slip cover. Inside is a download code for the UltraViolet Digital Copy.
From a Dark Place: Maximum Episode Mode (59:19; HD) is a commentary track with Creator/Executive Producer Kevin Williamson and Episode Director Marcos Siega and comes with Focus Points to go behind-the-scenes and get more info on the Pilot episode.
Unaired Scenes (9:12; HD) for ‘Chapter Two’, ‘Mad Love’ and ‘The Siege’
The Thrill of Horror: The Creator Behind “The Following” (13:10; HD) is an in-depth interview with Williamson as he discusses bringing the series to life. It features some on-set interviews with Kevin Bacon, Natalie Zea plus others on the crew as they talk about the road to series Williamson’s concept took (apparently he came up with it even before Scream 15+ years ago).
The Followers Den (1:21; HD) – Cast and crew discuss the den set which isn’t anything special.
The Poe Mask (1:52; HD) – The cast and crew chat about the origins of the Poe mask.
“The Following”: Free Megan (1:38; HD) – Actress Li Jun Li discusses the storyline of Megan and her escape.
Unaired Scenes (14:39; HD) for ‘Let Me Go’, ‘Welcome Home’, ‘Love Hurts’ and ‘Guilt’
Episode Commentary – Executive Producers Kevin Williamson and Marcos Siega sit down again for the season finale talking about various elements of the episode and the season on the whole.
The Cult of Joe Carroll: Inside The Followers (18:15; HD) is an extensive featurette that examines the psychological underpinnings of The Followers.
“The Following” Production Chronicles (27:22; HD) – Go behind the scenes with the cast and crew in this on-set timeline for the show’s production.
Unaired Scenes (27:10; HD) for ‘Whips and Regret’, ‘The Curse’, ‘Havenport’, ‘The End is Near’ and ‘The Final Chapter’
VIDEO – 4.5/5
Warner Home Video releases “The Following” on Blu-ray presented with a 1.78 widescreen aspect ratio and a 1080p high-definition transfer. The picture surprisingly enough was pretty sharp with some good, even great, detail levels while the blacks, which for a show that are dark in tone anyway, didn’t show any major signs of artifacts and only minor bouts of pixilation. Although this isn’t a picture that “pops” off the screen, it’s still looks good and a step up from the broadcast version.
AUDIO – 4.25/5
Each episode comes with a 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track and although not the best and fairly front-heavy in both dialogue and action, has enough depth to provide the right atmosphere for the crime-mystery at center of the season. The bulk of the audio for the front and, especially, rear channels are mostly used for the score or minor ambient noises, otherwise everything else is relegated to the center channel.
OVERALL – 3.5/5
Overall, “The Following”: The Complete First Season had plenty of potential with fine performances, a decent enough story but it’s squandered with inept characters and frustrating subplots that are more filler and don’t go anywhere. Still, it’s not a complete waste of time and with only 15 episodes, is at least worth the time commitment if only for Kevin Bacon and James Purefoy. The Blu-ray released by Warner has a good selection of special features and the video/audio transfers are both solid.